“We’ve got a history but it’s too much like the past,
I get unwell from stuff that used to be a blast.”

Blue On A Green Planet by Big Country

In a sustainable world, where the Earth’s capacity for life grows back at least as much each year as we use up, where it can safely soak up all the waste and pollution we create, we wouldn’t have a problem.

The thing is, that last happened in the 1960s.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when humanity has taken more out of the Earth than the Earth can put back; the date on which we’ve used up our supply of Earth for the year.

In 1970, that was on December 30.
By 2021, it had become July 29.
It’s getting earlier every year.

You can look at it country by country, it’s different in each one. In the UK, in 2021, Overshoot Day was May 19. We’re one of the worst offenders on the planet. If everyone lived as we do in Britain, we’d need over 2½ Earths. As it stands, most of the world is less wealthy than us, less wasteful and voracious, so we only need 1¾. That means for 5 months of the year, we’re taking more from the Earth than it can put back.

Do you want to work out your own personal Overshoot Day? Here’s a handy calculator. Be warned – with our western lifestyles the answer’s not likely to be pretty.


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